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Not too much drinking on the job, please.

… as to whiskey to be given to the labouring hands, it is right when they work in the water in cool weather. on other occasions in general it is an injurious & demoralising practice. they do more for a day or two, but less afterwards as we see where a harvest is lengthy. confine therefore, if you please, the giving them whiskey to those occasions which might otherwise produce colds & sickness. the first moment that ice of an inch thick forms in the river, the ice house should be filled. on this work they need whiskey.
To John Holmes Freeman, December 21, 2016

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders limit the booze.
Freeman was a new overseer at Monticello, who began his service in August, 1805. Chances are the “labouring hands” included slaves in addition to hired workers, though that is not clear.

Most people considered strong alcoholic drink to be both healthy and medicinal. Jefferson concurred, but only in part. He was willing to grant a ration of whiskey for cold, wet work, or conditions that could cause illness. Beyond that, he thought it “injurious & demoralizing.”

Beer and hard cider were common mealtime beverages. Jefferson drank wine in the evening, but only the weaker wines and never hard liquor.

“… first person interpretation was new to the conference this year.
Clearly the visits with President Jefferson and Captain Clark
have set the standard for future conferences.”
Director of Education, Indiana Historical Society
Mr. Jefferson (and his compatriots) will set the standard for other speakers.
Invite him (them!) to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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What to think about fish raining from the sky?

I do not say that I disbelieve the testimony, but neither can I say I believe it … a most respectable, sensible & truth speaking friend of mine gave me a circumstantial account of a rain of fish to which he was an eye witness. I knew him to be incapable of speaking an untruth. how he could be decieved in such a fact was as difficult for me to account for, as how the fact should happen. I therefore prevailed on my own mind to adjourn the decision of the question till new rains of fish should take place to confirm it.
To Andrew Ellicott, October 25, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders don’t discredit the unprovable. They await proof.
Pre-eminent surveyor Ellicott forwarded to Jefferson another’s report on stones falling from the sky and speculated how that might happen. The President neither believed nor denied the account, stating there was no proof either way. He described hail as being without explanation, too. Yet they had seen it and had to accept it, with no understanding how it happened.

He then described “a most respectable, sensible & truth speaking friend” who claimed to have seen fish fall from the sky! Jefferson had no idea how that could happen, nor could attribute deception to the friend who told him so. What to do? A wise man doesn’t automatically dismiss what he does not understand. Jefferson would postpone any conclusion until there was more evidence.

Can fish really rain from the sky?

“…thank you for your excellent presentation as Captain William Clark …
We also appreciated your taking the time to mingle with the guests after your performance …
I continue to hear compliments.”
Secretary/Treasurer, Virginia Association of Surveyors
Mr. Jefferson recommends Lewis & Clark Expedition Co-Leader William Clark to your audience.
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Leave a comment Posted in Natural history (science)

What is meant by a gift given to an office-holder?

…. The inviolable rule which I have laid down for myself never while in a public character to accept presents which bear a pecuniary [monetary] value … it is the duty of every friend of republican government to fence out every practice which might tend to lessen the chastity [purity] of the public administration.
To Phillipe Reibelt, October 12, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Equality-minded leaders avoid everything that undermines confidence in the organization.
The opening sentence is one featured before in this space, that Jefferson refused to accept any gift of value while in office. He would either return the gift or make a return offering of equal value. The second sentence gives the reasoning.

By “republican government,” in its simplest form, he referred to the foundational principle expressed in the Declaration of American Independence, “all men are created equal.” No one was to have any bestowed or artificial preference over anyone else. Any aristocracy was to arise from integrity and talent, not from wealth, ancestry, or other privilege.

A leader who accepted a gift, even with no-strings-attached, could give the appearance of impropriety, that the giver was seeking favor from the recipient, a preferred position above others. That is why Jefferson said it was the duty of every citizen of honest government “to fence out” or prohibit anything that could undermine the people’s confidence in their leaders.

“Thank you so much for your outstanding performance of Thomas Jefferson …
inspiring and very appropriate for our audience of leaders …”
Executive Director, Missouri School Boards Association
Engage a leader to inspire and teach your leaders.
Invite Thomas Jefferson to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Government's proper role, Human nature Tagged , , , , , , |

These treasures from the west must be shared with the public!

the articles which had been forwarded by capt Lewis … I am now packing up for you  …
2. skins of the white hare
2. skeletons of do [ditto].
a skeleton of the small or borrowing wolf of the prairies
a male & female Blaireau [badger] … with the skeleton of the female
13. red fox skins
skins of the male & female antelope with their skeletons.
2. skins of the burrowing squirrel of the prairies
a living burrowing squirrel [prairie dog] of the prairies.
a living magpie
a dead one preserved.
these are the descriptive words of capt. Lewis.
To Charles Willson Peale, October 6, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders need their own “kid in the candy store” moments.
When Jefferson’s Corps of Discovery (aka Lewis & Clark Expedition) headed west into the unknown in April 1805, Lewis sent all the specimens collected in their first year back to the President. Jefferson was probably beside himself with excitement when these arrived!

He examined all of them, kept a few to display at Monticello, and forwarded the rest to Philadelphia, where Peale could display them in his renowned museum.

Note several entries near the bottom of the list. The Corps captured several live prairie dogs and magpies to send east. One of each survived a journey of months and 1,500 miles to delight the nation’s premier naturalist.

In this 1822 self-portrait, Peale draws the curtain back to reveal some of the wonders of his museum.

“It was a great pleasure to have you return …
Thank you very much for bringing Thomas Jefferson to life
during the presentations on July 4 and 5.”
National Park Service, Jefferson National Expansion Museum
Watch Patrick Lee bring Thomas Jefferson to life for your audience.
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Leave a comment Posted in Animals, Natural history (science) Tagged , , , , , , , |

Form must yield to function, unfortunately.

I cannot express to you the regret I feel on the subject of renouncing the Halle au bled lights of the Capitol dome. that single circumstance was to constitute the distinguishing merit of the room, & would solely have made it the handsomest room in the world, without a single exception. take that away, it becomes a common thing exceeded by many …the only objection having any weight with me is the danger of leaking … but as you state that it cannot be secured against leaking & that is more than a countervail for any degree of beauty sacrificed to it…
To Benjamin Henry Latrobe, September 8, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders must sometimes sacrifice pleasure to practicality.
Latrobe (1764-1820) was a professionally trained architect, Supervisor of Public Buildings in Washington City, and oversaw the construction of the U.S. Capitol Building. Jefferson, an accomplished self-taught architect, regularly contributed designs or ideas for public buildings.

The Halle au Bled was a grain market in Paris, and Jefferson loved its design! The circular domed roof was supported by wooden ribs with glass in between. The effect was continually changing light in the building’s interior as the sun moved across the sky. He insisted on the same design for the roof of the House chamber in the Capitol, to make “it the handsomest room in the world.”

The Paris roof contained 800 panes of glass with 2,400 joints. Latrobe could not guarantee a Capitol roof that would not leak. Reluctantly, the President relinquished his 20 year dream of having an American building with such a magnificent covering. Still, in another example of delegating authority broadly, he left the final decision on the roof to Latrobe.

“The positive comments from our staff and members continued
long after the conclusion of Thomas Jefferson’s remarks.”
Executive Director, Maine Municipal Association
Mr. Jefferson’s wisdom will remain with your audience!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Architecture, Personal preferences Tagged , , , , , , , |

Minor issues can showcase major principles.

Th: Jefferson presents his compliments to mr Smith, has recieved his letter of the 3d. inst. and regrets that he could not have the pleasure of seeing him on his passage through the neighborhood … he congratulates mr Smith on the happy termination of our Tripoline war. tho a small war in fact, it is big in principle. it has shewn that when necessary we can be respectable at sea, & has taught to Europe a lesson of honor & of justice to the Barbarians …
To Larkin Smith, September 7, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Perceptive leaders know big results can flow from small actions.
An illness had prevented Smith from visiting Monticello when he was nearby. He wrote to express his regrets. Jefferson answered Smith’s letter, invited him to come another time, and congratulated him on America’s naval success against the Barbary pirates of North Africa.

It was “a small war,” Jefferson acknowledged, but “big in principle.”
1. It proved America could fight and win at sea.
2. The nations of Europe had paid tribute to the pirates for decades. America’s refusal to do so had taught them “a lesson of honor.”
3. The pirates (he called them “Barbarians”) had received a lesson about justice.

“Your presentation on Thomas Jefferson
was outstanding and very realistic.”
Utah Council of Land Surveyors
Mr. Jefferson will be outstanding for your audience!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Diplomacy, Foreign Policy Tagged , , , , , , , |

Your idea is good, but my name will hurt your cause.

… nobody wishes it [your proposal] more success than I do, and, if it succeeds, it will certainly be of proportionable public utility. but I have thought it my duty to the public, as well as to myself, never to bring myself forward in any matter where it is not necessary. the cases in which my name has been used by private individuals … becomes the occasion of indecent scurrilities … I ought to avoid giving occasion to when not necessary, wishing every success therefore to your enterprise …
To Leroy Anderson, September 7, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Smart leaders reserve their clout for the big issues.
Anderson had sent the President a draft of a prospectus on a “public utility,” one designed for both public good and business success. He asked Jefferson’s endorsement. The prospectus was being held at the printers, awaiting a response.

The President declined his endorsement, although he recognized the public value of Anderson’s proposal. Why?
1. He kept his name away from issues that did not require it.
2. His name associated with any cause became a lightning rod for his political opposition.
3. There was no point in giving offense when it was not necessary.

Although he would not endorse the project, Jefferson closed by wishing Anderson “every success.”

“Thanks to you, our Institute Planning Committee
was showered with accolades …”
Executive Director, Wisconsin Society of Land Surveyors
Your audience will praise you for bringing Mr. Jefferson to them.
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Why piss people off when it can be avoided?

on seeing an account of Gibaut’s death in the Salem paper I immediately ordered a commission for Kittridge. I gave notice of it to Crownenshield by the same post. I am glad it was done. for after a good candidate is known, delay only gives time to intrigue, to interest a greater number of persons & consequently to make more malcontents by disappointment.
To Albert Gallatin, August 30, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Decisive leaders nip potential problems in the bud.
Without going into detail about the individuals or position, death created a vacancy in a federally appointed office. As soon as the President learned of it in the newspaper, he immediately appointed another and made a public announcement. Why act so quickly?
1. He had a qualified candidate, so there was no need to wait.
2. Delay created space for political intrigue to develop.
3. Delay gave time for other candidates to express interest.
4. The result would create “malcontents” among those not chosen.

“We appreciated your willingness to take questions from the audience,
handling all questions with thoughtfulness and agility.”
Western Coal Transportation Association, Denver, CO
Thomas Jefferson delights to answer questions from his audience, no holds barred!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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Chemistry, like all science, should serve a practical purpose.

… of the importance of turning a knolege of chemistry to houshold purposes I have been long satisfied. the common herd of philosophers [scientists] seem to write only for one another. the chemists have filled volumes on the composition of a thousand substances of no sort of importance to the purposes of life; while the arts of making bread, butter cheese, vinegar, soap, beer, cyder Etc remain totally unexplained. Chaptal has lately given the chemistry of wine making. the late Doctr. Pennington did the same as to bread … good treatises on these subjects would   recieve general approbation [approval].

…I recall with pleasure the many happy days of my youth spent at College with your father. the friendships which are formed at that period are those which remain dearest to our latest day.
To Thomas Beale Ewell, August 30, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Practical leaders want practical applications, not theory.
Ewell, a young physician, wrote Jefferson asking his opinion about developing some treatises on chemistry applied to practical purposes in America, such as soil improvement, baking, and glassmaking. Jefferson was all in favor if it improved life for their fellow countrymen. His assessment of most scholarship in chemistry was withering, written to impress other chemists rather than serve any practical purpose.

Ewell sent his father’s greeting and compliments on the President’s leadership. The two older men had been students together at the College of William and Mary in the late 1750s. Jefferson returned the sentiment, affirming that friendships made in youth were the most valued late in life.

“Your wonderful presentation as Daniel Boone was well received
and appropriate to the interests of our group.”
Pennsylvania Rural Electric Association
I am not always Thomas Jefferson.
Daniel Boone will inspire your audience, too. Call 573-657-2739
1 Comment Posted in Agriculture, Natural history (science) Tagged , , , , , , |

If he cannot gamble and drink, he might just deliver the mail.

I suspect one single foible in Abrahams is at the bottom of all his difficulties. my confidence in him is built on yours who have tried him. here, where he is known in detail, he is considered as a gambler & given to those dissipations which that vice brings on. at N. Orleans he has found opportunities of indulging that passion … hence his sickness there, hence the death & theft of all his horses … you ask my opinion; I will give it only on the condition of your regarding it so far as your own judgment approved. I would limit Abrahams to [only the first part of] the route … and get Govr. Claiborne to find at N.O. [New Orleans another rider]from Fort Stoddart to N.O. Abrams will then have no field for dissipation & his other qualifications will have fair play.”
To Gideon Granger, August 25, 1805

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
All leaders have to deal with subordinates’ vices.
Gideon Granger was the President’s Postmaster General. The two collaborated often to provide better postal routes and extend mail delivery. The task of delivering the mail was conducted by private citizens who collected postage fees, kept a portion and remitted the rest to the federal government.

This letter details the concern over a single postal contractor named Abrahams and mail service to New Orleans. Jefferson made these observations to his trusted lieutenant.
1. All of Abrahams’ “difficulties” could be attributed to gambling and resulting bad behavior.
2. Jefferson’s only confidence in Abrahams was based on Granger’s.
3. In Washington City (now D.C.), Abrahams’ difficulties were very well known.
4. In New Orleans, Abrahams found new opportunities to gamble and drink.
5. Those dissipations led to his illness plus the death or theft of all his horses, essential for mail delivery.
6. Granger had asked Jefferson’s opinion. He gave it but stipulated Granger should accept it only to the degree that it aligned with Granger’s own judgment.
7. Divide the postal route to New Orleans in half. Give the first half to Abraham’s. Give the second half to someone else.
8. Deprived of the opportunity to gamble and drink in New Orleans, Abrahams’ “other qualifications will have fair play.”

Taken altogether, those eight observations highlight an excellent example of Jefferson’s leadership: his respect for Granger’s judgment and authority, his compassion for Abrahams, and a Solomon-like solution to a problem.

“Please know how much I appreciate all your effort.
You have provided a real service for the educators of Missouri.”
Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Mr. Jefferson will make the effort to provide a real service to your audience.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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